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Tuesday, Oct 08, 2002

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Irish team to boost trade, investment

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Mr Michael Ahern, Minister for Trade and Commerce of Ireland, offering sweets after installing a statue of Lord Ganesha at the Embassy of Ireland in the Capital on Monday.


THE Irish Minister for Trade and Commerce, Mr Michael Ahern, is here leading a delegation drawn from 27 Irish companies to promote greater trade and investment ties between Ireland and India.

Addressing a press conference on Monday, he said among the objectives of the delegation was to win over business in India. He added that the primary focus of the present delegation was on education and software business.

The delegation, which is the largest ever on trade from Ireland, has an overwhelming presence from the education sector, with as many as 18 delegates representing the sector.

During the six-day trip, the delegation will visit Bangalore and Mumbai, apart from Delhi. The trade mission has been organised by Enterprise Ireland, the trade and technology board of the Irish Government, which promotes opportunities in India through its staff working in the Irish Embassy.

Apart from education, the delegation plans to develop and expand business and partnership arrangements in diverse sectors including industrial, engineering, and training consultancy. Furthermore, with telecommunications being one of Ireland's major high tech success stories in the overseas markets, it also provides a scope for increasing trade with India. Besides, among the niche markets which the delegation is keen to examine are banking and financial services.

The changes in the Indian economy over the last few years, in particular, the liberalisation of the import regime and diversification of the country's economic base, makes it an attractive market for Irish companies interested in direct sales, strategic alliances and technology and business partnerships, officials said.

Apart from scouting for business opportunities, Mr Ahern will also interact with the Irish community in Bangalore and make a donation for an orphanage in Delhi for which funds have been collected in Ireland.

Bilateral trade ties between Ireland and India have been on the upswing in recent years, with the two-way trade valued at $300 million during the current year, up from $245 million during 2001.

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